2019 AgLaunch New Year Update

Friends,

2018 was a tremendous year for AgLaunch, starting with the news that we are now an independent nonprofit organization led by an impressive board and operations team. We are thankful for the leadership and vision of Tennessee’s former Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton who have helped start AgLaunch, and we welcome Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Charlie Hatcher, both of whom are proven leaders and multi-generational farmers in Tennessee who will expand the economic impact of agriculture through innovation.

Some of the highlights from last year include:

  • New and stronger partnerships in St. Louis, North Carolina, and Iowa that share best practices and create mutually-beneficial deal flow;
  • A growing portfolio that includes an additional 14 agtech startup companies and other value-added producer projects, including grain sorghum and malt barley;
  • Successful deployment of pilot projects with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture through its cost-share programs that allows farmers to incubate startup companies’ technologies, allows farmers to become early investors, and creates model farmsthat demonstrate best practices and new technologies;
  • Continued expansion of the AgLaunch Farmer Network that represents more than 100,000 acres of a diverse group of crops and livestock; and
  • Grew our partnership with Farm Journal Media, the country’s leading agricultural media company, to increase our national media presence and participation at the AgTech Expo for AgLaunch startups, as well as build new regional innovation partners.

Additionally, Memphis and the surrounding region are rightfully being recognized for their agricultural assets and economic development tools. Seeing successful agtech startups like IndigoAg choosing downtown Memphis for its North American headquarters for commercial operations is the kind of activity that we can continue to expect as we invest in food and agriculture.

As we enter the new year, AgLaunch is

  • Expanding our regional farm-centric innovation model with new cross-state partnerships that put farmers at the foundation of growing new agtech companies and exploring value-added opportunities;
  • Recruiting more capital through increased alignment with the RBIC and Farm Credit system to help companies grow from idea to the farmer’s field;
  • Focusing on programs to help small farmers participate in value-added enterprises and embrace technology in new ways;
  • Partnering with schools and youth organizations to develop the next generation of farmers and ag entrepreneurs; and
  • Sharing data and testing protocols across the Farmer Network row-crop acres, livestock, and specialty crop operations to support startups and investors at a higher level.

As always, thank you for your support and partnership. Without you, 2018 would have looked very differently for us. We’re looking forward to a productive and innovative 2019.

Thank you,

Pete Nelson
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